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27-second margin earns Bellerive entry into three-timer club

LACONIA — In what may have been the most competitive field ever taking part in Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, Claude Bellerive of Charette, Quebec, held on to win by just 27 seconds over the three-day race and became only the fifth person ever to win the derby three or more times.
Bellerive is no stranger to close finishes, having had previously won back-to-back titles in 2007-08 by margins of 10 seconds and eight seconds.
He jumped out to the first day-lead in the 85th annual derby Friday afternoon by taking a one minute, 10 second lead and then saw his challengers narrow the gap each day to the point where the top five racers finished only two minutes and 21 seconds apart.
Bellerive, who does not speak English, explained through his daughter, Melanie, who also races sled dogs and is the person who encouraged him to take up sled dog racing after his wife's death around 10 years ago, by saying that his team ran well and he encountered none of the major delays which affected him last year and in the 2011 races.
Bellerive started the weekend racing 16 Alaskan Husky-German Short-haired Pointer mix dogs and dropped to 12 dogs on Sunday when his 52:32 pace was the fourth best time of the day but proved enough to hold off his four challengers with an elapsed time of 2:41:10.
Jack Trottier, a Quebec musher, was third at the end of the first day, a minute and 24 seconds behind Bellerive, and posted the best time of Saturday, 54:15, picking up 44 seconds on Bellerive to narrow the gap to 40 seconds. He was 13 seconds better than Bellerive on Sunday with a 52:19 time which wasn't enough to close the gap and he finished with a time of 2:41:37.
Placing third was first-time derby racer Rejean Therrien of Quebec, who fell more than two minutes behind the pace in Friday's heat after his team became tangled. But he made up time steadily over the weekend, posting the second best time on Saturday and the third time on Sunday. The 37-year-veteran musher finished with a time of 2:42:04.
Vermont musher Steve Long fell from second after Friday's run, more than a minute back, to two minutes and eight seconds back by the end of Sunday's heat, finishing with a three-day total of 2:43:18.
Defending champion Justin Fortier of St. Raymond, Quebec, who had fallen nearly four minutes off the pace by the end of Saturday's heat, turned in the fastest heat of the weekend on Sunday with a blistering 50:59 pace to finish fifth with a time of 2:43:41.
Other finishers were 6. Hermel Bergeron, 2:49.19; 7. Doug Butler, 2:51. 24. 8. Keith Bryar, 2:52:24; 9. Brittany Colbath, 2:55:51; 10. Samuel LaForce, 3:03:32.
The other mushers who have won the Laconia Derby three or more times are Emile St. Goddard (1930-31-33); Dr. Charles Belford (1956-64-65-66) Keith Bryar (1960-62-63) and Dick Moulton (1968-71-73-75-76).
Winner of the six-dog class with a time of 57:25 was Jessica, Doherty of Palmero, N.Y, followed by Jocelyn Bradbury of Portland, Maine, with a time of 58:26. Angie Carter of Penacook was third with a time of 59:06, followed by Kathy Rivest of Charette, Quebec, 59:46; defending champion Melanie Bellerive of Quebec, 59:48 and Fran Plaisted of Vermont, 60:50.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:04

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Quick series of dry-road wrecks keep Gilford police busy

GILFORD — Three accident within about a 45-minute time span kept police are fire personnel busy yesterday afternoon.

The first came from an area of Cherry Valley Road just east of Cat Path. Sgt. Corey O'Connor said a white car heading toward Gilford Village appeared to leave the road way, flip over, and land in the woods down a steep slope.

O'Connor said the female driver and her male passenger were able to get out of the car on their own and walk up the embankment to get to the road. He said both declined medical treatment.

Police said they closed down one-half of Cherry Valley Road while wrecking crews worked to bring the car up the snowy embankment and on to a flat bed.
He said the entire road was closed for about five minutes while crews were loading the car for towing.

A few minute later, O'Connor responded to a second car accident on Cherry Valley Road that was further east, near the Gunstock Mountain Resort.

He said a single driver lost control of his Jeep and went off the road, getting hung up in a snow banking.

O'Connor said the roads were clean and dry in both accidents and said the cause was likely driver inattention. Both remain under investigation.

A third accident occurred on the Laconia by-pass. It was investigated by Lt. James Leach and he said it appeared both cars were going in the same direction and somehow collided.

He said there were no injuries and one of the two cars had to be towed. Leach also noted the by-pass was clear and dry and said driver inattention was likely a contributing factor.

In Laconia, two cars collided at the intersection of Baldwin and Joliet Street around 3:30 p.m. Police said there were no injuries.

CUTLINE – (FEB 15 car of Cherry Valley Road) A white car of undetermined make and model lies up-side-down in the woods off of Cherry Valley Road yesterday afternoon. Both occupants were able to free themselves from the car and declined treatment. Gilford Police said the crash is still under investigation but said drugs or alcohol were not factors.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 February 2014 12:56

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Clarification: Shirley Cyr was not employed by Live Free Home Health Care while working in Meredith home where she is alleged to have stolen $12,000

Clarification: Shirley Cyr was not employed by Live Free Home Health Care while working in the Meredith home where she is alleged to have stolen $12,000


A story that was published in our Thursday, Feb. 13 edition about the former director of the Inter-Lakes School District's food service department being the subject of a police investigation needs clarification because of background references made to his wife's alleged crimes.
Police say they originally searched the Moultonborough home of Joseph and Shirley Cyr looking for cash that Mrs. Cyr allegedly stole from a home where she was proving health care services. During that search they say they made a discovery related to Mr. Cyr that led them to obtain a second search warrant. To date no other information about Mr. Cyr has been made public and he has not been charged with a crime.
Mrs. Cyr is alleged to have stolen $12,000 from one Meredith home in August of last year and gold jewelry from a second Meredith home in December. In both cases, Mrs. Cyr was providing home health care services to the alleged victims.
In the second (December) instance, Mrs. Cyr was working as an employee of Live Free Home Health Care and owners of that company say she was terminated immediately upon their learning of the situation. The Board of Nursing, the Bureau of Elder and Adult Services and Meredith Police were also immediately notified.
In the first (August) instance, the alleged victim was not a client of Live Free Home Health Care and company officials say they had no knowledge of Mrs. Cyr's work in that home until they read about it in the newspaper.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 February 2014 02:09

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Community invited to participate in homelessness forum on Monday evening

LACONIA — On Monday night residents are encouraged to join representatives of at least eight civic organizations at 5:30 p.m. for a community night at the Laconia Middle School to address the growing problem of homelessness and near-homelessness in and around the city.

After a free dinner, at 6 p.m. everyone is invited to watch the wward-winning short documentary fillm "Inocente" — an uplifting story about a 15-year-old homeless girl who attends school, uses art to express herself, all while hiding her homelessness from the other students in her class.

Following the dinner, attendees are asked to stay and talk among themselves to see what it is all can do address homelessness and near homelessness.

According to Carol Pierce — a member of the Hope for the Homelessness Coalition in Laconia, as government financial safety nets give way, many fall though to homelessness.

It can mean living in a car, staying on a couch or in the living room of a friend or family — or it can mean hunkering down in one of the area's parking garages to keep out of the worst part of the wind and weather in the cold.

Pierce said a growing number of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are finding it increasing harder to find jobs — and many that do find the money they earn is not enough to keep a roof over their heads.

She said there are a number of contributing factors to homelessness including not enough money, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental illness and depression.

The goal of gathering everyone together in one room Monday night is to get as many people as possible to join together to work on homelessness.

The evening is not just for the members of the various agencies who provide direct assistance like Genesis Behavior Help, New Beginnings or the city Police Department and School District.

The goal to to bring all of the stakeholders together in one place, at one time, and with one agenda — to combine the resources the community already had with the resources out in the community who, until now, didn't think they had much to contribute.

According to Len Campbell of Catholic Charities, everyone in the community — rich or poor — has something to contribute to this project.
"We, as a community, need to be part of a continuing conversation on the causes and varying solutions for those who are in such dire need," Pierce said.

"Please join us," she asked.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 February 2014 01:52

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